Working the Egg: Oxidize Silver without the Chemicals (or the stench of liver of sulfur)

By Anna on July 11, 2007 at 9:54 am

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This is easy and about as safe as you can get. Hard-boil a few eggs. The number depends on how much silver you’re oxidizing, and how dark you want the silver to get. Place the hot & freshly boiled eggs in a container (this can be a plastic food container, a plastic zipper bag, anything that seals) with the silver you want to oxidize. If you’re using a plastic bag, seal it most of the way, but leave a crack for hot air to escape. Smash up the eggs, shell and all, making sure to get the yolk nice and mashed to release the sulfur. Then seal the container completely.
The amount of time you leave the silver in depends on the color you’re aiming for. If you play around with timing, pulling the silver after only a minute, or 10, or 30, you can get great variation in color from yellow to black. Make sure to turn the silver, or rearrange it in the container at least once during the process. Silver that’s touching other silver, pressed against the container, or coated in egg-white may not get evenly oxidized. Wash off the silver and eat or toss the egg. To remove the oxidation, pickle the silver in citric acid (see posting below), and scrub. Huge plus: your studio won’t smell like the sulfuric cloud that hangs over a paper mill!